Unveiled in Assisi the Newly Restored 17th-Century Sacred Shrine
“Madonna with St. Francis, St. Clare and Angels”
The City of Assisi is pleased to announce that restoration of the 17th century shrine depicting “The Virgin with Saint Francis, Saint Clare and Angels” has been completed. The work, announced in 2022 by the Mayor of Assisi, Stefania Proietti was made possible thanks to generous donations from members of the San Francisco/Assisi Sister City Committee, Roots of Peace, Knights of San Francisco and American Friends of LoveItaly. The precious wall painting, located in via Frate Elia a short distance from the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi and attributed to Vincenzo Giorgetti, was the subject of a meticulous restoration that lasted months.
The restoration is the first in a project aiming to restore many of the other shrines at risk in Assisi which is spearheaded by LoveItaly – non-profit organization that works for the protection, appreciation and promotion of Italy’s cultural heritage.
“On behalf of the community and the administration of Assisi and for what this city represents in the world for the Franciscan values of peace, hospitality and solidarity,” said Mayor Proietti, who was very keen about this project, “we are truly grateful for the restoration of a sacred work to which the citizens are particularly attached. Restoring the shrine in Via Frate Elia to its original beauty is a gesture of love for the city of Assisi. We sincerely thank the San Francisco-Assisi Sister City Committee, Roots of Peace, Knights of Saint Francis, and in particular LoveItaly who is taking action to restore the Assisi shrines to their former glory: thanks to Tracy Roberts and Luigi Capello for their friendship and affection for our city; thanks to the Sister City Committee with Richard Armanino, Heidi Kühn and Angela Alioto who are the souls of our Sister City with San Francisco and whose concrete results we appreciate with today’s gesture.“
“Our City is pleased and honored that our citizen-led San Francisco-Assisi Sister City Committee has joined with the Bay Area’s Roots of Peace organization on this culturally important program of restoring these ancient Frescos in Assisi,” said London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco when restoration began. “I join with Mayor Proietti in saluting Roots of Peace and our Sister City Committee for coming together for this project of friendship and cooperation. Assisi and San Francisco share a commitment to building bridges and are honored to be strong supporters of this unique partnership.”
“LoveItaly is working with Assisi and San Francisco to find the funds to restore many more of Assisi’s sacred aedicules,” said Tracy Roberts, VP of LoveItaly. “These wall shrines are the perfect example of accessible art. An integral feature of our mission is to ensure that the restoration projects we support make Italy’s cultural heritage available to everyone. The wall shrines have been exposed to atmospheric agents for centuries which means that many are at risk of disappearing forever, fortunately we still have time to save them.”
Richard Armanino, President of San Francisco/Assisi Sister City Committee, commented, “The sister city committee, along with the city and county of San Francisco, is incredibly proud of our relationship with the city of Assisi and our involvement in this important restoration is another way to demonstrate our committment to our longstanding relationship which goes back to 1969.”
“The celebration of the restoration of this historic fresco in Assisi, the city of Saint Francis – said Heidi Kühn, founder of Roots of Peace – is a testimony to our shared commitment not only to preserving cultural heritage, but also to cultivating lasting peace through the power of agriculture. Just as we transform minefields into fertile soil for orchards, this restoration reminds us that nurturing the beauty of art and land can inspire hope, break down divisions, and sow seeds of harmony for generations to come.”
The shrines, or “aedicules”, of Italy have a long history. In ancient Rome, small temples, fixed to the walls of a house or near crossroads were dedicated to the “Lares”, gods with the function of protecting the family, often fitted with oil lamps. The aedicules survived the arrival of Christianity, renovated with images of the Virgin and local or vocational saints.
Its colors restored, the wall painting in Via Frate Elia shines once again on the flow of visitors to the City of Peace. The restoration of this aedicule in Assisi renews the living link between past, present and future. The oil lamp – now a LED light source – continues to welcome everyone, inhabitants, visitors and pilgrims, in the sign of an ancient peace.
The restoration was performed by Marta Giacanelli and Germana Lolli.
To sponsor the restoration of an aedicule, contact email@example.com.
About San Francisco/Assisi Sister City Committee
The connection between San Francisco and Assisi dates back to the eighteenth century when explorers dedicated the nascent city to the founder of the Franciscan order. This relationship was sealed with the establishment of the Sister City Committee which celebrated 50 years in 2019. While Assisi as a City of Peace is twinned with all places on earth, only San Francisco and Jerusalem have the exclusive honor of being recognized in this special way.
About Roots of Peace
Roots of Peace has operated in war-torn countries around the world since 1998, engaging in the removal of anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnances and converting the land into orchards, in order to spark sustainable economic growth. Founded on the concept that agriculture can be a powerful tool for building peace and well-being, RoP’s “mines to vines” approach has given millions of farmers a new sustainable way of life. For more information: Rootsofpeace.org.
About Knights of Saint Francis
The “Knights of Saint Francis of Assisi” is a universal and international association that is committed to offering assistance to the poor, following the example of Saint Francis.
For more information:
Assisi Press Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: +39 075 1234567
Thanks to Renato Elisei, Flavia Taggasco, Jessica Edwards for the photos